WordCamp Pune has a lot of former or current teachers involved with it in various roles. We caught six of them for a quick interview to see how WordPress and education mix together. We asked all six the same questions:
How does your experience in teaching help with your WordPress career?
Puneet It helps me in two ways – training clients and being prepared for the most common questions that are asked by newbies. While building websites, we focus on simplifying the WP admin and limiting access to only usable features which are essential for them.
Topher A passion for teaching requires me to teach. It can’t be helped. Because of this I get to meet may people who want to learn. Community is very important to a career in WordPress, and knowing many people helps this greatly.
Priyanka When you speak about things you know and have already done, it increases confidence and then you can explain things better. It also helps when I am conducting theme building workshops for students.
Saurabh I learn way more when I teach. If I can think of 10 questions when I learn, 10 students can think of 100 when I teach — potentially 110 new things to learn. That’s a 1000% increase in learning!
Jitesh Half the work in any field involves educating your customers. My teaching experience helps a lot when I have to explain things like design, seo, content marketing etc. to my customers.
Mahangu My teaching background makes it possible for me to quickly see things from the point of view of the learner/user. This is easier said than done at times, and I am very thankful for this skill.
What is the one most important thing that WordPress can do in a school?
Puneet It can take education to the next level. Students can start a blog, start sharing their ideas, questions, solutions and easily get involved with other students and teachers around the globe. An intranet school community can be a great way to encourage discussions.
Priyanka Introduce students to blogging and sharing so they may become entrepreneurs from school itself.
Topher Provide for two paths of interest. One is WordPress and Web development in general, but the other is equally important and involves making WordPress get out of the way, and that’s Writing. For the student passionate about writing and creating WordPress is a wonderful thing.
Saurabh WordPress can be a great gateway drug to open source and the hacker ethic. Not only our software tools but our politics, culture and society also need some grand hacks. Who else will change the world but youth raised on a healthy diet of freedom of expression and the most popular open source and democratic publishing system in the world!
Jitesh Schools in India are kind of closed. Generally all kinds of decisions are made by the school authorities and students follow. WordPress can make schools open, involved and engaging.
Mahangu As a language teacher, I found that WordPress was a great way to get students to create and collaborate online while organically developing their writing skills. Even in its plain vanilla form (without any fancy plugins!), WordPress can be an excellent language teaching tool.
However, the most important thing WordPress can do in a school is be whatever the school wants it to be, while protecting the freedoms of all those involved.
Is building educational products with WordPress good business?
Puneet It sure is. As LMS plugins are gaining popularity in the market, there’s a massive room for improvement. We need some systems which can work for “indian” users as our educational system follows a different approach.
Priyanka Yes! (my second answer supports this one)
Topher Absolutely. I know people making administrative tools for teachers and staff and also people making it easy for students to create content on the web. The field is practically limitless.
Saurabh There’s so much content flying around in wads of paper called textbooks, notebooks, files, registers and concepts like assignments, homework, etc. All that can be fit into WordPress for a start!
Jitesh Sure it is. There are tons of websites selling courses our giving them away for free and make money on certification our sponsorship. It all depends on how you plan, build and market your product.
Mahangu Absolutely! 🙂 Web based education is obviously a huge industry that will continue to grow rapidly over the next few decades, and I think that WordPress solutions done right could really take off.
WordPress and teaching mix very well, it seems. So why not gather a couple of people around and share your knowledge of WordPress; it’ll only boost your career! The consensus seems to be that WordPress in schools is a great idea and that WordPress based educational products have great business potential. We only hope that the educationists and some of the businessmen amongst us have already started thinking on these lines!
Puneet, Priyanka, Topher, Jitesh and Mahangu are all speakers at WordCamp Pune (obviously!), and Saurabh is the lead organiser. See the list of speakers and of organisers for a more detailed introduction.
Every Friday till August the 28th, we’ll carry a similar post featuring short interviews with six people working with WordPress with a common role, context or situation. 6 posts about 6 groups of 6 people each that you can meet on 6th Spetember at WordCamp Pune 2015!